Day 2: Romans 1
In this time, we are learning anew what it means to do fellowship and community in an online world. It’s been one to get our heads around for sure.
The Apostle Paul loved the Church, he gave his life for it and had a desire to see it flourish. In verses 8-13, Paul talks about this love and care for the Church. One of the points of Ps Ed’s Introduction, talked about how Paul gave some great practical applications throughout this book, and here he mentions some brilliant pieces of advice we can all take away and action!
- “I thank God for you” v8
Paul knew thankfulness is key! In this time when we can be surrounded by negativity and a constant reminder of what we lack, thanking God for what we have lifts our eyes and gives us grateful hearts. Let’s be thankful for each other and that God has placed us in His family with Brothers and Sisters in the faith.
- “I pray for you” “I bring your needs before God” v9
How amazing is it that we can petition heaven on behalf of the people we know and love, bringing them and their needs before our God. Paul was a man who did this so often. Let’s be asking people what they need right now and bringing that to a God who hears and cares, who loves to provide and who can move mountains!
- “Come at last to see you” v10
“I long to visit you” v11
Paul knew the value of Godly community. We may not be able to meet physically, but we can meet virtually! As we prefer to say “physically distant, not socially distant”. God never intends for us to be alone, and so ‘seeing’ people is so important for our mental well-being. There are lots of ways to stay in touch; by prioritising joining your Connect Group when they meet, maybe an online coffee catch up with friends, joining a Influence Book Club, starting a daily bible reading with someone, organising a fun online activity for friends and family; there are lots of options. Choose to engage, and not to give in to distance and isolation.
- “Help you grow strong in the Lord” v11
“I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours” v12
“See spiritual fruit” v13
Paul was a great encouragement to the Church, but he was also open to receive encouragement from others too. As we walk through this time, we will all struggle with different things, at different times. This is an opportunity for vulnerability and openness, a time to put aside pride and reach out and give and receive encouragement. I recommend really thinking about who you can reach out to in this time; someone who can be a great encouragement to you but also who you can encourage.
Paul’s desire was to help the Church grow, by encouraging individuals to help each other. We all have a part to play! When we reach out and lift someone else up, we are building the Church. When we choose to invest into someone else, we are helping them to grow. Paul talks about ‘spiritual fruit’, my prayer is that during this time we see our lives and the lives of others flourishing and bearing fruit!
Barnard Castle Campus Pastor